Guitar Tone Woods

The guitar tone wood discussion thread.

I’ll start it off with this YouTube video.

I was writing in the other thread a post about the stupid claims some people, even reputable builders, make about electric guitars and materials used. I also said that acoustic instruments aren’t the same than electric ones.

Two very important things to consider in this discussion:

  1. Subjectivity (and what we expect)
  2. Blind tests
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I don’t know much about electric guitars but I’ve heard the wood on the finger board is more important in electric than an accostic ?

Maybe relatively to the other parts of the guitar, or that’s what I heard. But again, there’s a lot of bullshit and non proven claims.

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Y’all need to watch this movie

That makes it more fun.

I’m going to say that stuff like body mass in an electric guitar would increase its sustain, but given that an electric guitar relies on electronics, just about any tonal difference can be adjusted in the EQ and thus negate any difference in wood. Paint the guitar some weird metallic pearl color and nobody would care about the difference.

But looks are kinda important too. I mean flamed maple do not make any guitar sound better but it sure looks great.

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The tone is in the fingers, man! :grinning:

You’re kidding but A LOT of the sound is conditioned by the fingers and pick.

Marc Ribot and Bill Frisell. Two players that I keep confusing with each other :smiley:

Thanks for the recommendation, it totally looks like I should watch it.

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This guy’s videos are probably the last ones I watched on the topic, some months ago. It’s not just this one but a series of them, pretty cool experiments IMO:


That was pretty interesting. I have 12 guitars now each one definitely has it’s own character, but I think the different pickups in each make a lot more difference than anything else. Just got my first Les Paul (an Epiphone) and did notice quite a bit of difference in the overall warmth, sustain, and overtones. None of my Strats, Teles, and Ibbys have that sound.

I love Frisell. He can go from fifties doo wop to free jazz in twenty seconds. His looping is brilliant too.

Re: Shaopang post " [quote=“ShaoPang, post:8, topic:223521”]The tone is in the fingers, man! :grinning:
[/quote] and mad masala’s reply “You’re kidding but A LOT of the sound is conditioned by the fingers and pick.”:

Especially on a classical guitar. A bad laminated top (as opp. to a good laminated top, and better yet, a good solid top) still won’t sound good even WITH proper right-hand technique. But a great solid top still won’t sound great without proper right-hand technique. People who don’t play fingerstyle or classical on nylon might not realize what’s involved.

As for tone woods, on a classical the difference in quality is crucial. Fine cedar and spruce tops sound totally different. Nobody would fail a blind test on that. Same goes for an all mahogany vs spruce-top acoustic. (I don’t know of any mahogany-top classicals, but classical style and repertoire on an all mahogany dreadnought would probably be lovely!) I’ll be converting a Baby Taylor T2 mahogany to nylon and teaching classical on it just because it was a gift, we don’t like steel strings, and it’ll be a nice 3/4+ size guitar for my elder son to transition to next. Sounds fantastic with steel, though. Too bad the nut is so narrow, by a whopping 9mm. Not ideal for fingerstyle/classical.


Cedar has a lovely sound. Probably spruce is better in a band , but yeah Cedar has a lovely sound.

I knew him because of his work at The Electric Masala, I mean Masada.

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This conversation about classical guitar materials is beyond my knowledge. I will post however a video of some guys testing guitars from a cheap model to ultra expensive ones.

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Very cool. Not so much an unbiased comparison, but awesome nonetheless. And Brandon Acker is amazing - I especially love his work on other instruments such as lute and theorbo.

Both the $20K and 200K instruments were absolutely beautiful.